Encinitas house fire Jan. 22 likely accidental, authorities report

Meghan Lanigan

A house fire early Monday, Jan. 22, in the 1600 block of Landquist Drive in Encinitas Estates was most likely accidental, according to authorities.

“We’re looking at accidental as opposed to arson,” said Sgt. Greg Hampton of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Bomb and Arson Unit.

Hampton recalled that the woman who lived in the home said she had candles burning but was pretty certain she had put them out before she went to bed. Hampton said he did not want to specify if this was the exact cause as the investigation is still ongoing.

The fire began around 12:30 a.m., according to Encinitas Fire Marshal Anita Pupping. The woman was outside her single-story home when fire trucks arrived and had to be taken to the hospital after suffering burn injuries, Pupping said.

Firefighters also rescued a cat from the home’s garage.

Pupping confirmed that 90 percent of the home was damaged. Fire officials estimate the damages to be between $350,000 and $800,000.

No other homes were damaged, but a shared structure also caught fire.

“The fence to the neighboring property to the north side was damaged,” Pupping said.

Hampton said there could be multiple reasons for an accidental fire and named candles and overloaded electrical sources as two common causes.

“Don’t go to sleep with candles burning and don’t burn candles within 3 feet of anything flammable,” Hampton said.

Another common cause is the charging of multiple electronic devices on one power source.

“If you’re going to do that, you’re going to overload your breakers,” Hampton said.

The city of Encinitas offers community education to raise “the level of awareness about fire safety and emergency preparedness by offering a variety of materials and services for residents,” according to the city’s website.

The Encinitas Fire Department also teaches fire safety tips and conducts equipment show-and-tell events for schools, community groups or organizations with a minimum of eight people in attendance.

Hampton also said he wanted to remind the community to be more aware and to take precaution against fire, especially when it can be avoided.

“This is a public safety thing,” Hampton said.

Meghan Lanigan is local freelance writer